Review: Canvas Barley Milk
Covers Products: Matcha, Original, Turmeric Chai, Cocoa, Cold Brew Latte
Produced by a company that’s owned by Anheuser-Busch’s Zx Ventures, Canvas Barley Milk is a plant based beverage that is made from grain “saved” after the beer making process. The product, which has launched in five flavors (Original, Matcha, Turmeric Chai, Cold Brew Latte, and Cocoa), is being positioned as a dairy free product that is high in fiber and protein.
Conceptually, the notion of a product that is upcycled from the beer making process is certainly a pretty innovative one. However, the product is also positioning itself squarely in the middle of the rapidly growing plant based protein trend, which in itself makes the product very marketable.
Beyond using spent grain isolate, these products have cashew milk, coconut milk, pea protein, chicory root, natural flavors, and sea salt as the base for all of the flavors. The end results are products that have 230-280 calories, 18-20 grams of sugar, 8-10 grams of protein, 11-13 grams of fiber, and a modest amount of vitamin and mineral content in each 12 oz. bottle. Lastly, the product touts having coconut MCTs, although those are not quantified specifically.
When it comes to the flavor of the products, some formulations are definitely more successful than the others. The Original, which is flavored with vanilla extract, is probably the best showcase for the flavors at the base of the drink. There’s some grit to the body, but the underlying flavor is really quite enjoyable. There are notes of coconut, cashew, and vanilla, while the the main flavor is reminiscent of some of the oat milk products out there. While there’s a slight bitter note to it (presumably from the pea protein), it finishes up pretty clean.
For the flavors, we were really fond of the Matcha and the Turmeric Chai. For whatever reason, these flavors, whether it be the ginger and turmeric in the Turmeric Chai or the grassy tea flavor of Matcha, really complement the base flavor quite nicely. The other two, Cocoa and Cold Brew Latte, we expected a bit more from. Both of them have a coconut milk tang that works against the flavorings that have been added. This is a problem we’ve seen in coconut milk drinks, so it’s not really a surprise, but we’d love to see this improved upon.
On the outside, they’ve done a really nice job creating something that’s bright, modern, and wholesome in its appearance. The 12 oz. bottles are fully wrapped in white, with an accent color that’s used on both a conceptual shape on the front of the label and the cap. The Canvas Barley Milk brand is front and center and, thanks to the use of black block text, quite easy to read. While consumers probably won’t know what to expect from barley milk until they try it, we think it feels approachable enough to inspire consumer trial.
Overall, we really like the concept of Canvas. It’s innovative in its approach, timely in what it’s offering to the consumer, and well executed both inside and out.